Nilsson Schmilsson
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Product Description

The late Harry Nilsson's creative and commercial peak, this LP showcases the singer-songwriter's lighthearted worldview to best advantage. It remains one of the best, most consistent, and least dated albums from an early-'70s era not known for underplayed, unpretentious subtlety. Here you get strong interpretive singing (how ironic that this tunesmith's biggest hits were covers, such as Badfinger's "Without You"), inventive arranging (the hilarious, marble-mouthed "Coconut"), and distinctive melodicism (check out that lovely paean to the stars, "The Moonbeam Song"). In keeping with the domesticated figure on the cover--complete with housecoat, cigarette, and waiting refrigerator--the mood is laidback and homey, and there's a palpable feeling of comfort in both the production and the material. Nilsson's multi-octave voice was never so full of life. Other albums (like the John Lennon-produced Pussy Cats and the essential Nilsson Sings Newman) have their moments, but this is where to begin any Nilsson collection. (The 2004 reissue boasts superb remastering and six bonus cuts: one unreleased original tune, three demos, a Spanish version of "Without You," and a true oddity called "Lamaze.") --Don Harrison

Customer Reviews:

  • Awesome
    Nisson Schnilsson was just as I remembered it when I was in high school, it brought back alot of fun memories of singing & laughing with my Friends. Thank you very much....more info
  • From The Vault
    This original version of "jump into the fire" still gets more than my toe tapping, "without you" still brings a lump to the throat. Buy It, Buy It Now....more info
  • Classic album, packed with extra tracks
    For some reason, whenever I read about Harry Nilsson, he's always pegged as something of an 'adult contemporary' artist. This label, to me, has always carried an air of condescension--too old to appeal to the youngsters, only fit for mellow adult consumption. Perhaps he earned the label with his early work, especially his most well-known hit cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'," but to claim that Harry Nilsson, especially on this album, primarily targets a pasteurized market of complacent square "adults" is an insult to both the younger listeners to whom this great music appeals, as well as the so-called "adults" to whom it might also appeal. As the years have proven, Nilsson Schmilsson is one of Harry Nilsson's finest collections of mostly original songs, and is a playful, clever, and rocking romp across several musical styles that is nearly universal in its appeal to fans of rock, pop, blues, and all points in between.

    At its heart, Nilsson Schmilsson is a piano-based pop rocker, as the opening track indicates with its infectiously Beatles-esque piano riff that anchors Nilsson's acrobatic, gracefully soaring vocals. Nilsson's move toward a more rock-oriented sound comes off great--it's wonderful to hear his able pop crooning vocals spliced with something a bit edgier, yet still accessible. Add to the more aggressive sound the trappings of a 70's pop-rock album (horns, strings, etc.), and it's a perfectly natural Nilsson outing. Nilsson's adult contemporary reputation is somewhat reinforced by the first two tracks; one deals with the responsibilities of adulthood, and the second, "Driving Along" reflects a melancholy about the spaces between people. They're both rocking and catchy--in fact, listening to Nilsson Schmilsson (which is somewhat of a lost pleasure to fans of my age these days) it becomes pretty obvious that the indie pop rock sounds that are so prevalent today have a clear (and likely superior) predecessor 25+ years in the past. Go figure.

    Through the rest of the album, Nilsson deftly covers a lot of stylistic ground--playful, mellow blues on "Early in the Morning," sleepy, mysterious contemplation on "The Moonbeam Song" (which could have easily fit on Nilsson's classic The Point storybook album), hard boogie on "Down," heart-wrenching balladry on the frequently-covered hit "Without You" (Nilsson's oh-so authentic vocal really flies on that one), clever and humorous pop on "Coconut" (THAT'S where that song came from), and barnstorming rock on the breathless "Jump Into The Fire." By the end, it's a wild joyride of an album that takes you a lot of places. Nilsson Schmilsson is loads of fun, boasting some of the strongest singing and writing in his career. Older listeners seem to know about this classic's merits, but for some reason Nilsson's music seems to be lost on a newer generation--mine--that, based on a lot of its music tastes, would gobble this music up. Recommended.

    This reissue sounds great and is packed with plenty of extra material--6 bonus tracks, including an interesting Spanish/English version of "Without You," a couple unreleased songs, alternate versions of others, a radio advertisement, and a pretty funny joke song based on a French instruction manual. The bonus tracks definitely sweeten an already essential album, giving more reason to both newcomers and the already-converted. ...more info
  • Another Great Album From The 70's
    I can't carry a note in a bucket. I have a list of about five pop/rock singers that I wish I could sound like. Of course, Elvis is number one but Harry Nilsson is a close second.

    I judge how good an album is by how many songs you like on the album. Nilsson Schmilsson is one of those albums where every song is good and memorable. The two best are the ones released on top forty radio - Without You and Coconut.

    I highly recommend this album and Harry Nilsson to everyone. Every song will have you snapping your fingers....more info
  • The Best
    This album was stolen from my husband's collection some 20 years ago. It is now back on top of his favorites list....more info
  • As always, it's one of my hero works.
    What else to say... either you get it or you don't. I am an alien, and this is my anthem. Long live the Schmilsson....more info
  • Schmilsson still rules!
    This a is great CD: the music is still as fresh as it was decades ago. A grea range of tunes. Nothing beats that coconut song!...more info
  • Nilsson Schmillson
    I recently rediscovered this albumn and found that it is hasn't aged much since it was first produced in the 70's. Harry Nilsson had an amazingly versatile voice and an inventive songwriting style. No collection is complete without this albumn....more info
  • The Definitive Version Of Harry Nilsson's Definitive Album
    This 2004 remaster is the definitive verson of NILSSON SCHMILSSON, Harry Nilsson's definitive album. In addition to the original album, which includes affecting balladry (a cover of Badfinger's "Without You"), loopy humor (the tropically-flavored "Coconut"), and straight-out rock & roll ("Jump Into The Fire"), this CD contains six bonus cuts which actually add to the worthiness of the album. The homey feel of this album, unique in an era known for bombast, makes NILSSON SCHMILSSON the place to start your Harry Nilsson collection....more info
  • There's something in the CD for everyone
    RCA touted that "Harry's done a rock album". With songs like the seven minute rock classic "Jump into the Fire," I wouldn't disagree.

    But I think Richard Perry, the record's producer, is more accurate when he states that "there's something in the album for everybody." How else can you describe an album that has the romantic "Without You" between the bluesy "Down", and the calypso classic "Coconut." Whether you like pop, blues, rock, country, or anything in between, there's something in this CD for you--ok, maybe nothing for you rappers or punkers.

    The extras on this CD are very good as well. Included is a demo version of "The Moonbeam Song" with piano accompaniment. There is a more upbeat version of "Gotta Get Up" with different lyrics, which I actually prefer to the original.

    Make sure you read the liner notes which contain interviews with many of the people involved with this album. It offers some very interesting facts--like what was on the album cover that no one caught.

    ...more info